“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” Jeremiah 8:20
One of my heroes was the great preacher Dwight L. Moody. One time, Moody was preaching a great revival crusade. As the service was about to start, he looked over and saw a man standing by himself. The still small voice of the Holy Spirit nudged Moody to go talk to the man about his soul. He walked over and said, “Sir, I just want to ask you if you’re saved?” The man said, “No. I know that I need to get saved. But no, I’m not saved. I’m not ready right now. I will get saved another day.” Moody said, “Sir, you need to understand that we have today. The Bible says today is the day of salvation.” Still, the man refused. He said, “No. I’m not ready. But someday I will. Someday I will get saved.”
Several months later, Moody received word that the man had gotten deathly sick. So, he traveled across Chicago and went to his home. Moody asked, “Are you ready to get saved?” The man said, “I’m going to do it, but not now.” He said, “If I get saved now, people will say I got saved because I was sick.” Moody said, “Don’t think like that. Today is the day to get saved.” The man said, “Once I get better, I plan to buy a fruit orchard over in Michigan. When I get there, and I am not sick anymore, I will get saved.” Moody tried to reason with him. He did all he could. But the man refused to give his life to Christ.
The man did get better. He bought the orchard, and he moved to Michigan. However, his illness returned. Dwight L. Moody heard about the man’s condition, and he got in the boat and traveled across Lake Michigan. He went out to the man’s farm, walked into the farmhouse, and went into the back bedroom where the man lay dying.
When Moody walked in, the man said, “You’re too late. I didn’t ask you to come.” Moody said, “Sir, it’s never too late. The thief on the cross got saved in the eleventh hour. It’s never too late.” The dying man said, “But I’m not the thief on the cross. The thief on the cross got saved the first chance he had.” He said, “I’ve had many chances. Each time I was close, but I said, ‘No.’ No. No. No. No.” The dying man said, “I’ve said no one too many times. I’m telling you, for me, the clock is striking twelve. You’re too late.”
Moody got down next to the dying man and he began to pray for him. As he was praying, he heard the man mumbling something. Moody thought, “What’s he saying?” He put his ear down close to the man’s mouth. The man was saying over, and over, and over, to himself as he died, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and I am not saved. The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and I am not saved…”
Those were the man’s last words. Dwight L. Moody later wrote, “We took his Christ-less body and we wrapped it in a Christ-less burial shroud. We put his Christ-less body in a Christ-less casket. We carried him out and buried him in a Christ-less grave. The man went into a Christ-less eternity, all because he said, ‘Tomorrow.’”
The point is: Today is the day of salvation. The saddest words in all the Bible are found in Jeremiah 8:20. They are two simple words, “not saved,” but they are the saddest words in all the Bible. They speak of a tragically missed opportunity.
What if today was your last day on earth? One day, your last day will come. Perhaps you have been putting off accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior until a more convenient day. But that day may not come. Your salvation is only a prayer away. Don’t put it off. For you, the harvest has not passed. The summer has not ended. You can get saved today.
James Collins is pastor of Fort Scott’s First Southern Baptist Church. You can write to him at PO Box 227, Fort Scott, KS 66701 or by email at [email protected].